Ecstasy & Under Milk Wood
Mike Leigh scored his first great hit at Hampstead’s former porta-cabin theatre many years ago with Abigail’s Party which was recently revived at Hampstead’s new abode.
Ecstasy dates from a similar period and is not dissimilar – except that it doesn’t have the laughs, as my bored companion did not hesitate to point out to me. Die-hard Mike Leigh fans will still flock to and appreciate this production (which is due to transfer to the West End). Many would probably prefer to see him on screen (his latest, ‘Another Year’, is to my mind far superior.)
The Pentameters theatre above the Horseshoe pub in Hampstead High Street has been around for 42 years, yet despite it being virtually on my doorstep, and despite having visited the majority of theatres large and small in the capital, I have to confess that my trip there a few days ago was my first!
I was drawn to their production of Under Milk Wood, a play for voices memorably performed on radio by Richard Burton. This version had five actors, four of them doubling as musicians with specially composed score, and it was magical. The theatre itself is like someone’s living room (seating perhaps 50) and I’m very much minded to visit again sometime very soon.
Their next production is Lowell’s Bedlam, a new play about Bostonian patrician and Pulitzer prize-winning poet Robert Lowell, set in 1949.
Jeannette Nelson Jeannette is a bit of a culture vulture who enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.